Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pretzels!

When I was in high school, I took a home economics class my final year. This was mostly because I completed basically all required classes, and I didn't really want to have a completely open period with nothing to do (since I lived like 40 minutes away from the school, and I was my sister's ride) and there were not any academic courses offered during that period.

The home economics class turned out to be really, really fun. We learned how to cook many different dishes, and had a small cafeteria where people could come and eat for lunch (for about $3.) At the end of the year, we used all that money we earned from the cafe and went to a REALLY fancy four star restaurant in Phoenix (there were only about seven of us in the class and I was the only guy.) After cooking for half the year, the teacher decided we should learn to sew. The sewing did not go as well as the cooking. I patched all of my screwed up work clothes, put buttons on everything, and then started making a shirt. The shirt looked like a tunic, and generally sucked. Most of the class had a similar experience - useful patching / repair work, and then crap. After taking a look my shirt/tunic, the teacher asked if everyone would like to get back into cooking, and we all said yes. So we went back to cooking, and our small cafe. Thanks to that class I have some basic cooking skills, and can avoid starving, eating out all the time, or malnourished due to a steady intake of Ramen Noodles.

One of my favorite things to cook is pretzels. I still have the physical piece of paper recipe from high school. 



My girlfriend and I think it's fun to prepare meals together, since it's an activity we both can do, contribute to, and then we have something nice afterward. I like working on projects. She never made dough before, so the rising of it was a bit surprising to her.


(White flour version)

We made pretzels together twice. The first time we followed the recipe exactly, and the second time we added whole wheat flour instead of wheat flour, for slightly less than half the flour. If you want to substitute flour, I highly recommend doing so with way less than half, since half wheat flour makes the dough much more difficult to work.













Her little brother LOVES these pretzels, and eats most of them whenever I bring them over. 




Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bluetooth Headphone Repair

I really like Bluetooth headphones. They are extremely convenient, especially while biking and listening to audio books. Sometimes, they break though. The last time mine broke, I decided to fix them myself by cannibalizing an old set of headphones, and a soldering iron.

First, I started watching different youtube videos on how to repair Bluetooth headsets. Basically, the kind of headset I like is the same across different brands and models. They are probably manufactured at the same Chinese factory, with very minor differences, and the same fundamental design. This was the most helpful video for me.

After I was ready to begin, I took apart my headset. While it was apart, I touched the soldering iron to the connections for the actual broken earbud. I removed it, stripped the plastic ear covers to use later, and then threw away the broken min-speaker.



Next, I cut a working headphone out from it's connection, stripped the leads, and then soldered that into the position that I removed from the previous step.

I then powered up (with everything disconnected) to make sure things worked. They worked, and I then reassembled everything, and it worked.

The number one "gotcha" is making sure you have enough slack in your new replacement headphone. Mine were too tight, and the lack of slack pulled the entire headset up, off my neck, when I was wearing it. That was pretty uncomfortable.


Notice how the new speaker wire is super short compared to the existing speaker wire - this is uncomfortable.


This was 100% not an efficient use of my time. It makes way more sense to throw away your broken pair, and buy a new one, unless you make minimum wage or less. It's like $9 (free shipping) from the link I shared above. However, I like repairing things. It's been a while since I did any electronics projects, and it was fun. Plus, I had a set of headphones where the speakers still worked, but the jack was sort of messed up. It was fun combining two broken things into one working thing.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Russian 401 Final Project - Done with Russian Language at UNM

I've had a lot of Russian friends in Albuquerque beginning in graduate school, and had a good time progressing with the language. Understanding another human language is like understanding a completely different programming paradigm - it gives you another way to view the world you're in, gives you creative ways to solve problems, and introduces you to a whole set of people you otherwise wouldn't have met. I'm not yet fluent in Russian, but have progressed a great deal since starting the UNM Russian program four years ago.

My formal Russian study officially began at UNM Continuing Education, twice a week after working a 9-5 job. I was absolutely terrible in my first class, and even though there were no grades I almost was kicked out. I started private tutoring, and improved a great deal. I'm still not as good at reading as I am at speaking or understanding. After I finished two years of Continuing Ed, I took private tutoring for a year, and then started at UNM.

I finished my final Russian assignment and submitted it about twenty minutes ago. Finishing it up was somewhat bittersweet. I'm a bit disappointed that UNM doesn't offer more Russian language classes, but I cannot really blame them. My 401 class BARELY happened, with about eight students enrolled.

I will continue studying, with tutors and on my own. After all of this study, I am finally at a point where progress alone is possible.

If I actually want to get a Russian degree (which isn't super necessary since I already have a BS + MS in Computer Science) I'll need to take 4-5 culture classes. I enjoyed history as an undergrad, and maybe I'll enjoy the culture classes too. I'm signed up for one in the Spring time, and it should be fun. I like learning about new things, that aren't necessarily only programming or business, and the instructor seems nice.

I'm very grateful that resources such as UNM Continuing Ed, private tutors, and UNM Russian exist in Albuquerque.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

SORRY NOW UNAVAILABLE - 417 "C" Available - RENTED OUT!

This is rented out! Thanks for looking.

I HAD have an apartment that is available, located at 417 Princeton Dr. SE. I would like to rent this out for the Spring, 2016 semester. Rent is $650 / month, and includes gas, internet, water, sewage and garbage. No pets are allowed. I'd like first month's rent, last month's rent, and a month of damage deposit ($1950) down.

Everything is brand-new. Furnishings are negotiable. I furnished this place while experimenting with listing it as a short term rental on airbnb.com. I have all positive feedback, which you can read about here.

Please give me a call at 505-750-1169 if this is something you're interested in. Thanks!


















Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cooking Class with Chef Joy

A few weeks ago, Alina and I took a cooking class with Chef Joy, who is part of a business development group I attend. Joy described her idea for cooking classes. While Joy was describing this idea, I suggested a "date night" for couples, which she offered, and then Alina and I were her first customers! She has access to the beautiful Ferguson Showroom, which has about 8 super high end demo kitchens setup.



We cooked a mushroom soup, a thai chicken curry, and bourbon pecan cupcake. Everything was ridiculously good tasting, and extremely efficient to prepare.



There was wine and beer.


I am happy we took a cooking class as a date. It was a fun change, and we learned how to (efficiently) prepare tasty, healthy dishes.